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Volvo Group, Daimler Truck plan joint venture for standard digital platform

May 17, 2024
Volvo Group and Daimler Truck are planning a 50/50 joint venture to develop a standardized truck hardware and software platform.

Two of the world’s largest heavy-duty truck manufacturers intend to cooperate on a standardized commercial vehicle hardware and software platform.

Volvo Group and Daimler Truck announced plans for a joint venture to develop a common software-defined vehicle platform and dedicated truck operating system. The two manufacturers reached a preliminary agreement to establish an independent entity to develop standardized hardware and software.

Volvo Group and Daimler Truck plan to be 50/50 partners and base the yet-to-be-named company in Gothenburg, Sweden, which is where Volvo is based. The OEMs will continue to be competitors, they both noted in a joint press release.

Germany-based Daimler Truck is the parent company of Daimler Truck North America, which produces Freightliner and Western Star Trucks. Volvo Group is the global parent of Volvo Trucks North America and Mack Trucks.

Why Daimler and Volvo are developing digital vehicles

The standardized hardware and software will provide the basis for each manufacturer’s differentiating digital vehicle features. Both companies will provide their own end-user applications on top of the standardized platform.

“Volvo Group and Daimler Truck are two individually great companies. Now we are combining our forces to accelerate the customer benefits that a software-defined truck platform will bring,” Martin Lundstedt, Volvo Group president and CEO, said in a press release. ”Software-defined heavy-duty trucks represent a paradigm shift in the transformation of our industry. Making the truck a programmable device with standardized hardware and operating system for fast product updates will give both companies the opportunity to create value for our customers and their customers through differentiating digital services and solutions.”

The companies stated that cooperation on digital technology development will enhance customer efficiency and experience.

 “Just as important as the transformation toward  CO2-neutral drive technologies is the digitalization in the vehicle,” Martin Daum, CEO of Daimler Truck, said. “Developing a common software-defined vehicle platform with Volvo Group will enable us to turn our vehicles into a programmable device. It will allow us to build differentiating digital vehicle features with significantly greater speed and efficiency for our truck and bus customers around the globe. Together with the Volvo Group we can develop a benchmark truck operating system and set an industry standard.”

The preliminary agreement for the joint venture is non-binding. The companies plan to close the final transaction in 2025.

A boom in OEM partnerships

This move is part of an OEM partnership trend this decade.

“We like to say, ‘Partnership is the new leadership,’” VTNA President Peter Voorhoeve said in January when he joined other North American OEM leaders to explain why they were jointly creating the Powering America’s Commercial Transportation coalition. Along with Volvo, PACT’s founding members include DTNA and Navistar, which makes International Trucks. The coalition is focused on education and advocating for nationwide zero-emission commercial trucking fueling infrastructure.

In Europe, Volvo Group and Daimler are partnering on a hydrogen fuel cell-electric heavy-duty powertrain called Cellcentric.

Daimler also recently teamed up with Cummins and Paccar to build a $3-billion commercial vehicle battery plant in Mississipi.

About the Author

Jeremy Wolfe | Editor

Editor Jeremy Wolfe joined the FleetOwner team in February 2024. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point with majors in English and Philosophy. He previously served as Editor for Endeavor Business Media's Water Group publications.

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